Since Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day, I did not identify a “Best of the Week” for last week – but better late than never! On Sunday, the Washington Nationals celebrated Jackie Robinson Day and Black Heritage Day. Throwing out the first pitch was another civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis. The celebration was definitely the best of the week!
“The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.” ~ Jackie Robinson
It’s been 70 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Many players followed, changing the face of the game, sports, and society, forever. Significant progress was accomplished in the United States in the decades that followed Jackie’s MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. But there is still work to do.
Many people have examined the social significance of Jackie Robinson integrating baseball. We have also come to know about Robinson’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Nonetheless, there remains unfinished business that must be addressed.
So, yes, today is Jackie Robinson Day throughout MLB and MiLB ballparks. While we celebrate Jackie Robinson’s enormous contributions to society, let’s also think of ways to honor his memory by continuing his work.
Every year, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day – April 15 – by donning #42 uniforms, hosting special events, and talking about the importance of Jackie Robinson to baseball and society. One of my favorite players, Adam Jones, always tells it like it is, and Jackie Robinson Day a few years ago was no different. Click here to check out Adam Jones’ 2015 comments here.
This year is the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. As we count down to Jackie Robinson Day, let’s think about what this means to the players, the game, and us – the fans.
Today is Jackie Robinson Day. Throughout major and minor league baseball, players will be wearing uniform no. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson’s contributions to baseball and the nation. In Vero Beach, FL, Minor League Baseball and the Florida State League will hold its third annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Dodgertown. The Brevard County Manatees will play the Lucie Mets.
On Monday, the new Ken Burns’ documentary, “Jackie Robinson,” premiered on PBS. Also, MLB announced on Monday that it will sponsor 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars (4-year funding for each, one for every MLB team) and it will contribute $1 million to the Jackie Robinson Museum, to be opened some day in New York.
Here are just a few more Robinson-related tributes planned for Friday:
The baseball team at UCLA, where Robinson went to college, will wear special edition Robinson-era “throwback jerseys” as well as cleats provided by Adidas.
Adidas will provide their special edition baseball cleats the UCLA baseball team as well as the MLB players who represent Adidas. The shoes feature newspaper-style headlines on the uppers and Jackie Robinson’s #42 embroidered on the side.
Beginning today, Jackie Robinson’s contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers will be on display at the New York Historical Society before moving on to other cities.
Several MLB and MiLB will be celebrating Jackie Robinson Day with special promotions and activities. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, will be giving away a replica Jackie Robinson jersey. The AA Lehigh Valley IronPigs will have a life-size, hand-carved wood statue of Robinson at their game as well as other promotions.
The Negro Southern League Museum (NSLM) and the Birmingham Barons in Birmingham, Alabama, will celebrate Jackie Robinson day with a marching band and other festivities at the NSLM followed by a Barons game at Regions Field, which is adjacent to the museum.
The City of Philadelphia will formally honor Jackie Robinson, having recently passed a resolution to celebrate April 15, 2016, “as a day honoring the lifetime achievements and lasting influence of Jackie Robinson and apologizing for the racism he faced as a player while visiting Philadelphia.”
Also in Philly, the Business Association of West Parkside will hold its annual Jackie Robinson Day festivities, which include a ceremony at the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park (at Belmont and Parkside avenues). The entire event will be broadcast live on Philadelphia’s WURD (900 AM). At the event, there will be a rededication of the Jackie Robinson mural.